My hope is that this blog will be a conduit for conversation between you and me, between you and others, and most importantly, between you and God. Experience has shown me that my best conversations with the Lord and with others come coupled with the stillness of morning and a cup of coffee. Whatever your experience has been, I hope you will join me as I share what God puts on my heart.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Because they know His voice.

I have been caught up in the grind of life.  In doing so, I have had trouble hearing the voice of our Lord.  Our Lord is certainly speaking; our Lord is certainly moving.  But the less time I spend with the Lord, the more trouble I have hearing or discerning our Lord’s voice.
I cannot expect to be led by the Lord if I cannot discern the Lord's voice.

I have learned there is a distinction between being aware of God throughout my day and consciously setting aside time just for God.  While there is a distinction between being aware of God and deliberately setting aside time solely for God, the latter affects the former.  The more time I spend with God, the more I am aware of and hear God.

We must set aside time dedicated solely to God.

When the Lord recently led me to examine a hardened part of my heart, the Lord also prompted me to spend more time with Him.  My hardened heart was very much related to the little time I was setting aside for the Lord.  The less time I spend with God, the less I recognize God’s voice.  My inability to recognize God's voice makes my heart hard and less malleable to the things of God.  It is not that God is not moving; it is that I become less sensitive to God’s movement.  

Too many of us expect to maintain an intimate relationship with Christ without spending time devoted purely to Christ.  In this respect, our relationship with God is much like any other relationship.  Without time safeguarded wholly for my spouse, my friend, my sibling, my parent, you name it, our relationship will not grow.  If I do life alongside a friend without dedicating time specifically to that friendship, that friendship will become stagnant.  Likewise, I will never maximize communion with our Lord if I solely execute my day alongside God without sharing my day with God.  And, so it is with you.  

We may be able to maintain the statutes quo with our Lord by acknowledging Him and being aware of Him.  We may even maintain the status quo in our relationship with God by frequently gathering with other believers, serving others, and avoiding sin.  But the Lord has called us to maturity in Christ.  And I am convinced that maturity in Christ necessitates isolated time with our God.   

And I am not being extreme—I am just encouraging you to set aside a small amount of your day purely for God.  It is true that communing with other believers, serving others, and avoiding sin are attributes of Christ.  But the personal, alone time with our Lord is the platform for Christ.

And so I reiterate ad nauseam, there is a direct relationship between the undistracted time we spend alone with God and our ability to hear God’s voice. 

The more time we spend with God, the better we will discern God’s voice.  The better we discern God’s voice, the more full our communion with God will be.  The more full our communion with God, the more mature we become in God.  Growing in Christ means knowing Christ.  To continuously know Christ more requires time alone with Christ.

Praise God that our Lord Jesus desires to spend time with us.  I pray you safeguard this time.  For me, I am learning to perpetually fight for this time with God.  Even when this means fighting against myself or my lack of desire.  If we do not understand the impact of personal time with our Lord; if we do not regard this time as precious, we will forever choose our time over time with our Lord.

"[T]he sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice."  (John 10:4 NIV).

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."  (John 10:27 NIV).

"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."  (Luke 5:16 NIV).

"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."  (Mark 1:35 NIV). 

"Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say."  (Isaiah 28:23 NIV).

If I seem verbose today, I certainly am.  I am drinking a very large latte.  And I am absolutely unapologetic. 

Much love to you,


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In all things.

It is wonderful to encounter individuals who are accomplishing God’s will for their lives.  I imagine you know what I am talking about—those people you meet that give you pause because you know that person is doing exactly what God created that person to do.  There is no better feeling than knowing you, yourself, are precisely where God wants you.  How joyous to know that you are in God’s will.

Yet, I doubt many of us spend most of our moments experiencing this joy.  I do not want you to miss this joy—the joy of knowing that you are in the place of God.

I have encountered many friends who incessantly question God’s will for their lives.  Many people—even people seeking hard after God—never feel certain that they are where God wants them.  I, myself, fight fear that I am somehow missing the Lord’s plan for my life.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.

God is not limited by our circumstances.  I am not convinced that God’s perfect plan for your life is an inflexible treasure hunt that requires steps one through ten.  Do not limit our Lord to your mistakes.  Do not restrict our God’s plan for your life to your wrong turns.  If our God can use my idiotic mishaps and wrong turns to accomplish His glory, our God can certainly use yours.  If our God can accomplish good in the wrong done to Joseph by his brothers; if our God can use Paul despite his persecution of Christians, our God can use us for His glory. 

Our Lord certainly does not will for you to sin, for you to miss His direction, for you to experience pain.  But, trust that our Lord Jesus can use all things for His glorious purpose.

When you are unsure what exactly God has called you to, trust that God has called you to seek hard after God.  When you do not know what door to walk through, walk toward God.  When all the doors are closed, remember that God is always open to you.  When numerous doors are open, if you are seeking God, you cannot miss what God has for you. 

When you have repeatedly failed in the same area, know that God is not limited.  When this is the first time that you have acknowledged God, God is still accomplishing His glorious purpose in you.  When you are treading through a colossal valley, God is working.  When you are experiencing pain, trust that God is not finished.  When you have sought God and still have not heard from God, rely on God’s promises. 

Trust that by seeking the Lord, you are exactly where the Lord wants you. 

When life does not make sense, remember that God’s plan does not always make sense.  If you are alive, God is still accomplishing His purpose in you.  Do not be short-sighted.  Do not reduce the power of our God to your screw-ups.  We worship the most creative Being that will ever exist.  If you are seeking after our Lord, you are precisely where God wants you.

I pray you celebrate that God is accomplishing His perfect plan in your life today.  Not tomorrow when you get it together.  Not yesterday before you messed up your life.  Not last week before you heard the bad news.  God does not will sin, failure, and pain in your life, but God can certainly use them.  Praise God that our futility is His glory. 

"Am I in the place of God?  You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."  (Genesis 50:19, 20 NIV).

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  (Romans 8:28 NIV).

'"Brother Saul, receive your sight!'  And at that very moment I was able to see him.  Then he said: 'The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth.  You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.  And now what are you waiting for?  Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.'"  (Acts 22:13-16 NIV).

What would you do if I told you I am still in my jammies while finishing my third cuppa coffee? I know, I know; I am ruthless to rub it in.  For those who have outgrown Spring Break, put another pot on.

Much love to you,


Friday, March 16, 2012

Those who seek the Lord.

I rarely follow up a previous post with another related post, but I feel compelled to do so.  In light of the Lord’s work on my heart, my last post seems incomplete.  If you think I am repeating myself, I likely am.  Repetition is often necessary to stir our hearts.

Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

God has already provided for us in every area.  For every aspect of life, God has made His fulfillment available.  But, there is a condition precedent—a prerequisite—to being fulfilled by our Lord. 

Those who seek the Lord.

We are fulfilled by God in every area of our lives when we seek after God in every area of our lives.  This does not necessarily mean that we have a checklist for the significant areas of our lives to make sure we pray about those areas every waking moment.  It is about consciously safeguarding our needs from counterfeit fulfillment.   

God certainly can and wants to fulfill your need.  In Christ, you have no need.  But, if you have not gone to Christ with your need, you either have a conscious void or phony satisfaction.

Being satisfied in God is two-fold.  First, we must trust that Christ is everything we need—in every facet of life.  Trust that God has made everything available to us for life and godliness.  We discussed this trust component in my previous post.      

Second, we must ask our Lord to show us any need we are not placing in Christ.  While God makes available to us all things we need, we do not always seek what God has for us.  God has done His part.  Even when we do not place our needs in God, it is no less true that God has already provided for those needs.   

Then, being satisfied in God very much depends on us.  God has made available all things for life and godliness.  You lack no good thing.  It is you who must place your need in the context of these truths. 

Thankfully, God will show you your need.  The Lord prompted me to discover what need I am not placing in God.  God has shown me that I have repeatedly sought the world’s approval.   I return empty time and time again.  I will never be satisfied because the world’s approval is fleeting.  We are not of the world.  And if we are not of the world, our needs cannot be fulfilled by worldly satisfactions.

This need of mine—and all of our needs—has already been fulfilled by God.  In Christ, God’s approval of me never changes.  In Christ, I have no need in this particular area or in any area.  But, I will forever have a need if I do not place that need in Christ.

And you will forever have a need if you do not place your need in Christ.

Trust that God has provided for all components of your being.  You will never experience this abundant fulfillment if you withhold any components of your being from Christ.

I urge you to ask God if there is a need in your life.  Discern any voids in your heart that you are not letting our Lord fulfill.  Trust that God will show you if you have a void.  Trust that if you are whole-heartedly seeking after God, you lack nothing in Christ.  Praise God that our Lord not only richly fulfills our needs, but our Lord graciously leads us away from pseudo fulfillments.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”  (Psalm 139:23 NIV).

“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”  (Psalm 90:14 NIV).

“They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.  Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”  (John 17:16 NIV).

“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”  (Isaiah 58:11 NIV).

I know what you're thinking.  And no, God has not prompted me to give my need for coffee to Him.  I am not physiologically and psychologically dependent on coffee.  I don't know what you're talking about.

Much love to you,


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

All things that pertain to life and godliness.

Desperation forces us to make decisions we normally would not make.  Decisions premised on what we think we need easily become irrational.  Desperate choices are often not life-giving, abundant choices.  I do not want to develop the habit of making fear-based decisions.  I do not want to make decisions because I am worried that I will lose what I need.  I do not want to make decisions because I fear I cannot otherwise obtain what I need.  I do not want this for you. 

Through Christ, we never have to act out of desperation.  Not in the worst of circumstances.  Not in the best.  Our God has already made available everything we will ever need.

I sense that you are concerned—concerned that I am going to say that God is all we need.  But, it is true: God is all we need.  God is far more than we need.  We have trouble believing that God is what we need and that God is all we need because of our understanding of God.

Our Lord has given us everything we need for life and godliness.

I am not just speaking in spiritual terms. God is what we need spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially, relationally—for every area of life, for always.  I am not one who is unrealistically clinging to God while claiming He solely meets my spiritual needs.  I am not proclaiming that when our spiritual needs are met, our every need is met.  I am very much proclaiming that God goes far beyond your spiritual needs.  And this makes sense if you truly believe God cares for more than your spiritual component.  

For if our Lord solely cared about our spiritual elements, our Lord would not provide for our earthly elements.  But because our Lord cares about all the minutiae of life, He provides for the minutiae of life.  Our Lord has numbered every hair on your head.  Why would God number every hair on your head if He solely cared about your spiritual condition?  We must stop limiting the role of our God in our minds.  When we confine our Lord to purely spiritual provision, we limit our Lord’s glory in every detail of our lives.

Those who seek God lack no good thing.

When we stop restricting God's provision to our spiritual aspects of life, we recognize that we lack nothing.  We never have to make decisions premised on what we think we need.  We have what we need right now.  And we will have what we need when tomorrow comes, just as we had what we needed when yesterday came.  Because our God will provide for now and for always, our decisions can be premised on Him.  Our decisions can be premised on where God leads us and not where our fictional needs call us.

If we do not have it, we do not need it.  If we need it, we have it.  We need Christ.  We need more of Christ.  And more of Christ is available to me always.  And more of Christ is available to you always.

Trust that the Lord has given you everything you need right now.  Trust that you lack no good thing.  Trust that our Lord Jesus has given you more than enough for life and godliness.  Praise God.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence . . . .” (2 Peter 1:3 ESV).

“The Lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:10 NIV).

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”  (Matthew 10:29-31 NIV).

I happen to know a gal who is struggling with this daylight saving time business.  The only thing I am springing forward to is my coffee pot.

Much love to you,


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

You are of Christ.

A vision statement is essential to any organization.  It is that vision that provides consistency through challenging events, successful periods, and other life experiences.  That vision provides a structure for where the organization wants to be in the future. 

We have been called to a vision.   

I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness.

And I implore you not to forget the vision to which you have been called.  While we each have varying specific missions to accomplish the vision to which God has called us, I believe we have the same vision.  God inhabits this vision because God is the One who called us to this vision.  And if God called us to this vision, it is God who will accomplish this vision in us.  And if it is God who will accomplish this vision in us, then seeking God realizes this vision.       

I will take hold of your hand.  I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people.

This vision provides consistency through the experiences of life.  This vision reminds us who we are in Christ when we become jaded by failure or enamored with success.  This vision anchors us amidst distracting circumstances.  This vision propels us when we fight apathy.

I will keep you and make you to open eyes that are blind.

This vision is what I return to when I forget who I am in Christ.  This vision is the structure for what God is accomplishing in me.  This vision echoes that my only role in this vision is to incessantly chase after God.  Above all, this vision conveys that it is God who will accomplish this vision within me. 

And within you.

I will keep you and make you to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

God has called you.  And God places Christ within those who respond to this call.  Christ is within you.  And you are Jesus Christ to the world.  Then, you have the vision of Christ.  It is Christ.  Christ is your vision.  And because Christ is within us and Christ is our vision, it is Christ who is accomplishing this vision.

I pray we do not forget it.  I too easily forget.  And God has graciously reminded me through His Word of the vision He has placed within me.  For me, God has used Isaiah 42.  It makes sense to me that the vision of Christ would be the same vision to which God has called us.  I encourage you to find yours.

Praise God, praise God that God has not solely called us to a vision; God has placed His vision within us. 

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him.”  (Isaiah 42:1 NIV).

“This is what God the Lord says—he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.  I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”  (Isaiah 42:5-7 NIV).

“[Y]ou are of Christ, and Christ is of God.”  (1 Corinthians 3:23 NIV).

If you happen to be one who enjoys coffee that has body, you need to try this.  It is not so much sweet and not so much flavorful, but it is very much bold.  I like this coffee like I like my man: strong.

Much love to you,